Juror ‘stared at, followed’ in Olympian’s $200m coke case

 

Court security has been beefed up for the jury in the $200 million cocaine smuggling trial of former Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley and his brother, after a juror claimed they had been followed after they left court by a man from the public gallery who had "stared intently" at the jury during the evidence.

The jury has been sent home early to consider if they can remain impartial in deciding the accused's fate.

Addressing the jury this afternoon, on the sixth day of the Brisbane Supreme Court trial, Justice Ann Lyons told them to take the weekend to consider whether they could remain impartial after revelations that a juror believed they were being followed on Wednesday night as they left the building on George St in Brisbane's CBD, and were walking to the nearby Roma St train station.

"If for any reason any of you feels that because of what has occurred you cant be completely impartial, and be seen to be completely impartial, I would like you to write me a note and indicate that you can't be impartial," Justice Lyons told the jury.

 

Justice Ann Lyons said the claims were concerning.
Justice Ann Lyons said the claims were concerning.

 

"As I understand it those concerns were shared among the jury so you are all aware of those concerns.

"If you come in on Monday and feel you can't be impartial just give me a note, and if it's clear you can't be impartial, then it's appropriate for a juror to be discharged."

Justice Lyons said the issues raised by the jury were concerning, and the court was investigating them.

She told the jury that an investigation had been launched to view closed-circuit-television footage of the path the juror took from the courthouse to the train station.

Justice Lyons told the jury that several jurors also felt that a group of young men sitting in the public gallery had been intensely staring at them "for extended periods" during evidence by key prosecution witness, boat skipper Anthony Trevor Draper, 56, earlier this week.

She asked the jury if they could give the court bailiff a note revealing the time that the juror believes they were followed, and a physical description of the man who was allegedly following them, and the route they took to the station.

The jury have also been asked to try to identify the public gallery members who were allegedly glaring at them.

 

Nathan Baggaley clinches silver in the K2 500 men’s kayaking at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Nathan Baggaley clinches silver in the K2 500 men’s kayaking at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

 

She also told the jury that from today there would be greater security when they left the courthouse to go home, and it would continue next week to ensure they felt safe and secure.

Jurors would also be banned from leaving the court precinct to have lunch next week, and would be provided lunch in the jury room, she said.

Justice Lyons said she and court staff would be more vigilant next week to watch to see if any of these men returned to the public gallery, or if anyone was staring at the jury.

But she reminded the jury that courts were open to the public.

"You can't know who those people were associated with, they could have something to do with this case, they could have nothing to do with this case, they could have something to do with someone who has given evidence, so don't make any assumptions about why they were staring and who they were associated with. We don't know," Justice Lyons said.

The jury of 14 - 12 jurors and two reserves - has already been reduced to 13 after a juror was excused on Monday due to illness.

Dru and his older brother Nathan have pleaded not guilty to attempting to import a commercial quantity of cocaine into Australia at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and elsewhere between December 16, 2017, and August 2, 2018.

The case returns to court on Monday.

 

 

 

Originally published as Juror 'stared at, followed' in Olympian's $200m coke case


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